Developing a marketing plan can be challenging but vital for your SaaS business. You’re selling software, meaning you’ll approach marketing differently than other companies. Developing the SaaS digital marketing plan will take time and effort. You’ll need information about your target audience, competitors, products, services, and positioning.
Defining a SaaS Marketing Plan
A SaaS marketing plan outlines how you will market your SaaS product. It’s not just about what you’re going to market but also about how you will do it. It’s not just a list of actions—it’s a blueprint for success.
Since customers pay for the product on a subscription basis, the SaaS marketing plan has to show them the need to continue paying.
How SaaS Marketing Differs from Traditional Marketing?
The key difference between SaaS marketing and traditional marketing is that SaaS marketing is focused on attracting and retaining customers, while traditional marketing is focused on attracting new customers.
In traditional marketing, you might spend money on advertising, PR, or building a brand to attract new customers. Traditional marketing can be deemed successful once the customer makes that initial purchase,
In SaaS marketing, you focus on making it as easy as possible for your existing customers to keep using your product with minimal hassle. This means offering great customer service, providing value through product updates or new features, and ensuring that any issues are resolved quickly and efficiently.
A typical marketing funnel for SaaS products differs from traditional marketing in various ways;
- The customer base: Traditional marketing aims to sell physical products to individuals and groups. SaaS marketing aims to sell software and digital solutions to companies. The companies usually involve the main decision-makers.
- The goal timeline: The main target of traditional marketing is to acquire new customers and make their purchases. It doesn’t emphasize having the customers come back. On the other hand, the main aim of a SaaS marketing strategy is to establish a long-term relationship with the customers. Once they purchase, they need to keep renewing their plans for the SaaS company to succeed.
Every part of the customer journey matters, from creating awareness to getting customers to sign up for trial versions to retaining them.
How to Create a Marketing Plan for SaaS
For any SaaS company, a marketing plan is critical for its success. The company seeks to establish long-term relationships with prospects, so a proper plan is necessary. Coming up with the right SaaS marketing plan can be challenging, but if you follow the right steps, you will succeed.
You can follow these steps:
- Define your ideal buyer persona
- Do competitor research
- Define your marketing goals and OKRs
- Build an SEO strategy
- Create content that your audience can relate to.
- Strategize email marketing campaigns
Let’s look at the steps in detail.
Define Your Ideal Buyer Persona
When designing a marketing plan for a SaaS product, it is good to understand that different users have different needs. You can never generalize all the SaaS product users. Therefore, you will always find a market you can target and sell your product.
When figuring out your ideal buyer, you have to answer some questions, such as;
- What kind of company is looking for this solution?
- What exactly are they looking for?
- How many employees do they have?
- What are their pain points, and how does my product address them?
- What’s their budget?
- What is the biggest challenge they face?
Once you have identified the answers to these questions, create a detailed profile of your ideal buyer persona. This will help you identify what kind of messaging will appeal most to them—and how best to market your product to them once it’s ready for launch.
Sometimes, you’ll need to create multiple profiles if your product can suit several groups of people. Don’t create too many profiles in such cases because managing them will become challenging. A small number will be easy to manage so that you can keep the focus on the marketing strategy.
Conduct Competitor Research
You can’t create a strategy without knowing who your competitors are and what they have done. Many SaaS companies are out there, all fighting for the same customers. Without competitor research, you could be developing a marketing plan that already exist in the market.
When analyzing the competitor, look at what they are doing well and poorly. From there, you will know how to approach the marketing strategy for your SaaS company.
Some factors to consider when conducting competitor analysis include:
- The type of ad campaigns they use
- Their ranking for organic searches
- Number of backlinks
- Their social media posts and interactions with the audience
You must figure out how your SaaS marketing strategy will differ from the competitors. If your competitors offer something similar but cheaper than yours, you need to figure out how to offer it cheaper or better than them (or both).
If they’re doing something different from yours (and it’s working), experiment with your product until you find out what works best for your customers.
Competitor research will also enable you to learn who the audience is and how they’ve built trust with the competitor. It will help you understand how to communicate with your customers.
Establish Your Marketing Goals and OKRs
If you don’t know exactly what you want to accomplish with SaaS marketing, it can be difficult to ensure that your strategies work together and reinforce one another. Setting goals enables you in developing a marketing plan strategy. You also need OKRs (Objectives and key results) to keep you in check.
As customers start signing up for free trials, demos, or paid plans of your product, you need clear metrics to measure the success of your efforts. Most SaaS companies look at metrics such as;
- Conversion rates
- Customer retention
- SEO ranking
- Lead generation
- Number of customer upgrades
OKRs help you set specific targets for each goal to know where you’re falling short, even if you don’t hit them all. You can then work backward from these targets to set up individual campaigns or tactics to get you where you want to be.
When setting your goals, breaking them into short time frames is the best approach. For instance, you can have a goal to achieve in the next three weeks. Once the three weeks are over, you’ll examine the goal to see if it was or wasn’t successful.
Time frames allow you to set the necessary daily and weekly tasks that will lead to the achievement of the goals. Remember that your SaaS marketing goals must align with your overall company goals.
Develop a SaaS SEO strategy
Because SaaS companies seek to win and retain customers, they want these customers to be knowledgeable. Therefore, SaaS marketing seeks to create awareness through all levels of the customer journey. A knowledgeable audience will make informed decisions about your product.
SEO is the easiest way to produce informative content that will influence decision-making. It will also increase organic traffic, giving you a higher chance of winning and retaining customers.
Some factors to consider when making an SEO SaaS marketing plan include the following:
- Identify the right keywords to use: Use keyword research tools to find and target the right keywords for wider audience reach.
- Create content: To ensure your content is engaging, you can use a mixture of both long-form and short-form text, incorporating images, videos, and other graphics. Ensure it caters to search intent.
- Link building: By ensuring your content provides value to the reader; you’ll earn backlinks to your site. Backlinks promote a higher ranking so that you can contact other websites for link building.
- Landing pages: Optimize your landing pages and tailor them to specific audiences. Your leads will more likely proceed to the pricing page if they find an optimized landing page.
- Website optimization: Conduct a website audit and eliminate all technical issues. Ensure it is fast, readable, well-structured, and aesthetically appealing. It also has to be mobile-friendly.
Schedule a regular calendar for posting content. Google prioritizes websites with fresh content, giving them a higher ranking. You can get a team to work on content creation and publishing to ensure your audience receives evergreen content regularly.
Ensure Your Audience Can Relate To Your Content
The SaaS industry has many players sharing content, and the readers know exactly what they are looking for. This means that your content has to stand out. The more relatable your content is, the more likely it will be shared and used—and the more likely people will buy from you.
Understand your audience and know the content they like. Ensure your content is value-packed and gets to the reader at the right time. You have to stay up to date with industry trends and developments.
Think about what matters most to your target audience and consider ways to incorporate that into your SaaS SEO marketing campaign. For instance, if your audience is mostly older customers with an established business model, they may have less time to read about new products than younger customers just starting.
You can use SaaS marketing tools like Sprout Social and UnboundB2B to guide you to reach your audience with more relevant content. The tools also enable you to analyze your performance and understand areas of your marketing plan for SaaS that need adjustment.
SaaS content marketing is not just about producing content regularly. You have to find out what moves your audience and be creative to craft content that aligns with their expectations. And remember to learn about the industry so that you can share information as an expert. People will trust a SaaS company producing detailed content and ignore one providing shallow information.
Build an Email Marketing Campaign Strategy
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways for SaaS companies to reach their target audience. It allows you to build relationships with your customers and prospects and can help you generate revenue through sales, leads, and customer engagement.
But it’s not enough to just send emails. You need a well-designed strategy that aligns with your overall SaaS marketing plan. You can use it to share information with the audience about your brand and any developments they can expect.
For instance, you can announce improvements to your SaaS product or alert the audience about upcoming discount offers. You can also get in touch with people who have expressed interest in your brand.
You can use email marketing in your SaaS digital marketing plan strategy to:
Attract Leads Using Freemiums
Freemiums can help you win new users and get them to start using your product. You can use it as an entry point into your product, get users comfortable using it, and then upsell them on a paid plan once they realize your service’s usefulness.
Nurture Leads to Become Subscribers
Leads are people who have shown interest in your brand, and some of them may not be ready to buy. You can use email marketing to guide them to make that transition. Provide them with information and resources to help them make informed decisions about whether they should become subscribers.
Retain Your Subscribers
Email marketing is more personal, so people who sign up for an email list don’t expect generic messages. You can use email marketing to provide important information about what’s going on in your company. You can also inform the audience about specific updates to the SaaS product or any upcoming events. People like being on top of new developments, which can help retain subscribers.
Staples of a SaaS Marketing Strategy
SaaS products are sold on a subscription basis, and the customer pays for them continuously. The SaaS company aims for a steady stream of customers paying for the product or service. But how does the marketing of a SaaS product happen from customer acquisition to retention? How can you make it successful?
The entire process can be summarized in these staples:
- Target decision-makers
- Competitor comparison
- Offer free trials
- Product demos
- Content marketing
- Optimize your website for lead conversions
- PPC and social ads
- Customer reviews
Decision makers can help steer the direction of their organizations and decide whether your product is worth investing in. They are found at the top of the organization hierarchy, but they could also be leaders of smaller departments.
It’s good to know the decision-makers in your target company. This will help you understand where to spend resources, which channels are best for reaching these people, and how to tailor your message toward them.
The best way is to approach them with demos or free trials. Make sure that you have identified a problem in the organization that your software can solve. If your product impresses the decision-makers, they will influence the organization to buy it.
Always check out what your competitors are doing. Find out where they get their customers from and how they approach them. Look at the competitor’s landing pages, social media marketing strategy, and pricing.
You can learn a few things from them and modify their strategy to suit your company. Check how your competitor crafts their messages on social media and the following interactions. It can provide a basis for structuring your communications and reaching out to the right people.
You can even look to sell to some of their customers with a better deal (whether it is more affordable or with more features). Ensure that your product provides value and that people see the need to try it.
Offer Free Trials
Free trials are an excellent way to win the customer’s trust and show them your SaaS product or service’s usefulness before they commit any money to use it. They get to test the product’s features and provide feedback where necessary.
Therefore, free trials can provide a learning opportunity to understand what your prospects want. You can even test new features to gauge their viability in the market.
Once the company gets comfortable using your product, it’s time to upsell it to them. A company will always pay for a SaaS product if it addresses its pain points.
Product demos should be on top of your SaaS digital marketing growth plan. They help you explain your product and demonstrate its features in a way that the customer can understand. By demonstrating, prospects will view you as an expert.
Demos can help reduce customers’ questions about your product, leading to more sales. The customers understand how the product benefits them and how easy it is to use the SaaS product. In other words, it helps them visualize themselves using your product and seeing positive results.
The marketing plan for your SaaS product is not complete without content marketing. You can create blog posts, videos, infographics, guides, and podcasts, then share them with your audience.
Content marketing helps with brand awareness and lead generation. It enables you to teach potential customers about your product without being pushy or aggressive with them. It helps drive organic traffic and increase sales.
When doing your SaaS content marketing strategy planning, ensure that you understand SEO as it drives organic traffic.
Ensure that your website is easily navigable and mobile-friendly, and people can locate what they are looking for. Include a call to action on every page, whether signing up for a webinar, free trial, or demo. This will provide contact information to enable nurturing of prospects.
PPC and Social Ads
The advantage of including pay-per-click (PPC) in your SaaS startup marketing plan is that it can be more targeted. You can target people more interested in your product to see and click on the ad, increasing the chances of conversions.
Social ads are a great way to build brand awareness because people will see your ad without searching for anything. The ads are shown to users depending on their activity. You will show them to people who are most likely to click on them, leading to more lead generation.
Customer reviews are a reflection of how your product or service serves them. Customers easily trust other customers more than they can trust brands. Your SaaS product marketing plan should encourage customers to leave online reviews for social proof.
More Tips for SaaS Companies Stand Out from the Crowd?
SaaS startups may struggle due to the crowded spaces they operate within. We have more tips to include in your SaaS marketing framework for better results.
Define Your Value Proposition
A value proposition is what you offer customers that make them want to buy your product instead of someone else’s. It should be compelling, unique, and easy to understand.
A good way to think about it is in terms of the following:
- Who are you targeting?
- What are their pain points?
- What can your company do for them?
Don’t overwhelm the potential customer with unnecessary information. Be straightforward and let them understand how your SaaS product adds value to their company.
If your value proposition seems obvious to you, communicate it to the customer. The way you say it can influence their decision-making.
Make Your Brand Unmistakable
The more distinct your brand is, the easier it is for people to identify it. The aim is to leave a lasting impression, so people can know what service to expect when they see your brand.
Some tips to make your brand stand out include:
- Make sure your logo is unique and memorable. A good tip is to use a font that isn’t common in the industry and doesn’t have any meaning attached to it.
- Ensure that all of your branding elements are consistent. All logos and colors should be consistent across all platforms, including social media accounts and websites.
Your SaaS marketing framework determines the success of your marketing efforts. You must be strategic throughout the customer journey to build customer loyalty while providing value.